Adelaide United defeated Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32
Adelaide United has begun their inaugural FFA Cup campaign with a confidence-building win against fellow A-League club Wellington Phoenix at Marden on Tuesday night.
As a result of commitments to the A-League All Stars squad, manager Josep Gombau was unavailable for the match and so assistants Michael Valkanis and Pau Marti both stepped into the role.
With the majority of ball being kept by Wellington in the opening five minutes, the Reds slowly eased into the match and began to execute their passing style of play.
But the first half would be without any clear-cut chances for the opening half hour, as both sides found it difficult to break down their opposition.
However, United’s persistence in midfield would pay off in the 31st minute. Great work from Tarek Elrich on the left flank saw him find Awer Mabil in space, who calmly played a low cross to the feet of Cirio whose shot found the bottom left corner of Glen Moss’s goal.
From here the Reds lifted the intensity of the match and controlled the movement of the ball, putting Wellington under constant pressure.
This pressure almost proved too much for the Phoenix, as they came close to giving away a penalty after 43 minutes, yet referee Shaun Evans waved away United’s appeals.
The intensity of the first half would continue into the second, but both sides shared possession of the ball and looked threatening on the counter.
Yet chances would prove hard to come by with the ball spending a lot of time in the middle of the pitch as both sides played somewhat cautiously.
As the game drew to a close Wellington slowly increased the pressure in search of an equaliser and in the 91st minute hit the post from a corner. Former Red Nathan Burns then forced United goalkeeper Paul Izzo into making a brilliant diving save from the rebounded effort.
Following the match, Valkanis praised the efforts of United and was proud of the way the squad responded to the tie, even though missing coach Gombau and senior players Eugene Galekovic and Marcelo Carrusca.
“We were missing some very important players through injury, not only Eugene and Marcelo, and the team stepped up to the challenge.
“I know for certain that everyone around the club has every confidence in all of the players, and someone like (Bruce) Kamau showed this and I’m sure more will throughout the season.”
The Reds now progress to the Round of 16 and will find out their fate when the draw is held on Thursday, 21 August 2014.
Tuesday, 5 August 2014
Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32
Adelaide United FC 1 (Cirio 31’)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Venue: Marden Sports Complex